The 8 Best Inflatable Kayaks

Updated October 13, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

8 Best Inflatable Kayaks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you're looking for a convenient, portable and affordable way to get out on the water, then look no further than our selection of inflatable kayaks. Perfect for lakes, rivers and oceans, they come in single and multi-person designs to meet your needs. Some can even be used for fishing and come with rod holders and lots of room for gear. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best inflatable kayak on Amazon.

8. Coleman Quikpak K1

The Coleman Quikpak K1 has a tarpaulin bottom that gives added protection from punctures so you don't have to worry too much if you hit an underwater rock or accidentally hit the shore too hard. It only takes five minutes to unpack it and set it up for use.
  • convenient built-in cupholder
  • easy to carry backpack system
  • suffers a lot of drag in the water
Brand Sevylor
Model 2000014137
Weight 19.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Outdoor Tuff Stinger 3

The Outdoor Tuff Stinger 3 features three puncture resistant, triple-layer PVC air chambers that give this model the rigidity and feel of a traditional kayak and help keep it afloat even in the unlikely event that a chamber deflates.
  • only weighs 25 pounds
  • handles waves well
  • cockpit isn't very roomy
Brand Outdoor Tuff
Model OTF-2751PK
Weight 27.4 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. Sevylor Coleman Colorado

The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is made from 18-gauge PVC that is rugged enough to stand up to heavy use and a few bumps and scrapes along the way. It has built-in paddle holders and adjustable quick-set rod holders so you never have to worry about dropping something.
  • mesh gear pockets
  • multiple air chamber design
  • supports trolling motor mounting
Brand Sevylor
Model 2000014133
Weight 41.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Sea Eagle SE370K Pro

The Sea Eagle SE370K Pro can hold up to 650 pounds of people and gear, so it can be used for paddling, fishing, yacht tending, and even as a platform for scuba diving. It features lashed-down inflatable spray skirts and a self-bailing drain valve.
  • comes with a pump and carrying bag
  • saltwater and uv-resistant hull
  • good choice for taking pets along
Brand Sea Eagle
Model SE370K_P
Weight 55.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

Unlike most other inflatable kayaks, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport has a sit-in design. Its cockpit is easy to enter and offers plenty of legroom, but not so much for gear. Also, it is suitable for nearly universal water conditions.
  • easy to fold up when finished using
  • extremely stable
  • glides through water smoothly
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Airhead Montana Performance

The Airhead Montana Performance is a solidly constructed 12-foot, two-person model that easily fits into the trunk of your car, duffel bag, or large suitcase when deflated. It stands up well to rapids and unexpected rocks when underway.
  • front and back spray covers
  • highly visible on the water
  • 6 d-rings to attach gear
Brand Airhead
Model AHTK-2
Weight 46.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Intex Challenger K1

If you're on a budget but still want to ply the waters, the Intex Challenger K1 can't be beat. It provides users weighing 220 pounds or less a comfortable cockpit and a surprisingly smooth ride at an excellent price and it even comes with a cargo net.
  • front and rear grab lines
  • includes an 84-inch aluminum oar
  • has a removable skeg
Model 68305EP
Weight 26.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Advanced Elements Strait Edge

The Advanced Elements Strait Edge has integrated aluminum ribs to define the bow and improve its tracking capabilities. It is a smart choice for those who often kayak in rough seas as it has a self-bailing design, plus it comes with two rod holders for fishing excursions.
  • comfortable foam mesh back support
  • puncture resistant pvc
  • doesn't feel like an inflatable
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Kayak

The word kayak comes from a Greenlandic language closely related to the traditional tongue shared by the Inuit and Aleuts of North America. The term is a derivation of the native word qajaq, pronounced kah-djak, and which can be traced back across many centuries. Kayaks have long been used by these denizens of the frozen northlands both for hunting and travel.

The original kayaks were made primarily of seal skin (and occasionally from the hides of other animals) stitched together and then stretched over a frame made out of whale bones or, when it was available, wood. Kayaks have likely been in use for more than 4,000 years and examples of these hearty, resilient boats are still made in the original manner today, though almost exclusively for demonstration purposes, not for practical daily use.

By the early half of the 20th Century, wooden frames and fabric hulls had come to be common in kayak design, but in the 1950s, the advent of practical, easy to use fiberglass saw this material briefly dominant in kayak construction. The use of fiberglass would see a decline almost as quickly as it had become ascendant, however, as in the early 1970s molded plastic kayaks quickly became the most popular units available.

Plastic kayaks were smaller, stronger, and more affordable than fiberglass boats, and they could be made in a wider variety of shapes and sizes, ushering in the era of freestyle paddling that has gained enough popularly today to be an Olympic sport.

Today, kayaking is enjoyed by millions of people all over the globe, with different boat designs offering the chance for an ocean adventure, a white water ride, or a trip down a lazy river. Kayaks are used by some people as their preferred means for daily commuting and by others while out on a fishing trip. If you are interested in kayaking, you will also be interested to know that the hobby can be an affordable one to commence, especially when you consider an inflatable kayak.

In recent years, these plucky boats have seen a marked increase in popularity, especially with urban residents who have limited storage space but still want to own a great, compact boat.

An Inflatable Kayak Fit For Fun

You will be pleasantly surprised at how very little an inflatable kayak that's actually of very good quality can cost. There are many inflatable kayaks that cost well under one hundred dollars, and these little boats often come complete with paddles and pumps, no less. Choosing an inflatable kayak starts with considering who will use it.

If you are getting a boat that will only be for yourself or another person, than a one person kayak is fine. But keep in mind that even many two seat kayaks can easily be controlled by one person, so if you want the option to occasionally paddle along with a friend, consider a two person boat even if you will often use it solo.

Next consider where you will primarily be using your kayak. If you will use the boat only in lakes and on calm rivers, then you can hardly make a poor choice.

If the kayak will encounter the occasional rapids, then you need to factor in extra durability and puncture resistance. Look for kayaks with semi rigid hulls that can handle impacts with rocks, submerged logs, and other obstacles that tend to hide beneath white water.

If your kayak will be used in the open water of a bay or the sea, then stability is an important factor what with waves and boat wake. A longer, wider boat can help you stay upright under these conditions, and can help you bring along some food, water, and other supplies you might want during a longer outing as well.

The Inflatable Kayak Ready For Adventure

Believe it or not, there are inflatable kayaks ready for everything from a use during a fishing trip to use during a run down rapids to use in the frigid waters of the Arctic Circle. Top of the line inflatable kayaks can compete with standard rigid-bodied kayaks in almost every respect, though you will have to be ready to pay top dollar for these quality options.

When selecting a kayak for use during a fishing trip or for use during the course of many days, such as with a camping trip featuring river travel, you need a boat that can handle plenty of weight and that offers excellent stability. That usually means a larger kayak that might not be as nimble when shooting through rapids or making quick turns on open water, but you need to be ready to sacrifice some performance in the name of payload capacity and in reduced likelihood of capsizing.

For plying frosty waters or for paddling your way through whitewater, you need a kayak with a cockpit you sit down in and which can accommodate a skirt, commonly called a spray deck. Only when you are securely strapped into your boat with a water tight seal created around the cockpit can you safely run through rapids without the risk of taking on water. This same seal helps to keep you safely insulated in icy waters, especially if your boat tips over. When you rapidly get yourself rightsize up and still have a kayak that's dry inside, you can safely continue on your exciting journey.

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Last updated on October 13, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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